Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Suburban St. Louis Mass Shooting, Revisited

It's going to be an emotional afternoon at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase. Elegy to Connie, a one-hour stop-motion animated hybrid documentary about a 2008 mass shooting at the Kirkwood City Council, is scheduled to locally premiere Sunday July 13th at 2:30 p.m. with the filmmaker in attendance.

The title is a reference to Councilwoman Connie Karr, one of six shooting fatalities. The film revisits the Kirkwood City Council nightmare mainly through the memories of a group of women who were her friends.

Ahead of Sunday's screening, director Sarah Paulsen has shared some candid thoughts:

Since this is the first large public screening I am also afraid of being rejected by my hometown, Kirkwood. In some ways, it's much easier to travel to other communities and share the film because it is not such an up close and personal experience. I think a lot about the form of this film. I probably consider it to be in the end more of a personal narrative vs. an investigative documentary.
When I began the film I interviewed the women I did, because I felt it was the story I had access too. I don't really consider myself a journalist but rather an artist and this was the sort of personal story I felt I could tell. Working on the film, I felt a personal catharsis as if something huge was being lifted off my conscience, as much as it may have benefited the women I interviewed.

Karr was 51 at the time of the February 7th, 2008 shooting. Among the other victims were two police officers and 69-year-old Mayor Mike Swoboda, who perished from his injuries seven months later.

Elegy is set for another meaningful screening next weekend, July 19th, in Chicago, a city racked by ongoing gun violence. The movie screened previously in Wichita.

[Elegy to Connie]

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